We’ve all read about teenagers building technology hacks and getting acquired for millions of dollars or startups raising one funding round after another. The snazzy pictures make it look very glamorous but as every entrepreneur who has stuck it out knows, beneath the surface lurks another world full of turmoil, disquietude and anxiety.
We earlier wrote a piece on why people become entrepreneurs and there is no guidebook that tells you why you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur, but the glamour quotient can sometimes blind people. “Entrepreneurship is hard work. Building a new business is an all consuming activity which can be both physically and emotionally draining, apart from all the sacrifices one makes regarding a regular income and stable family life,” says Kartik Varma, co-founder of Accel and SAIF Partners backed Proptiger.
After talking to entrepreneurs and investors who’ve seen the entrepreneurial ecosystem mature, we’ve zeroed down on some wrong reasons to get into entrepreneurship.
To be your own boss
Ah! who does not want to be their own boss. When you just start up, this might look true but you’re not your own boss when you’re running a company. “The customer is the boss! So if you want to be your own boss, then be an artist, or a consultant, a free-lancer, or even a doctor. But an entrepreneur reports to the customer (and a funded entrepreneur reports to the board),” says Anand Lunia, founder of India Quotient. Once you employ people, who rely on you for their livelihood, you’re far away from the definition of ‘free’. Yes, you’ll have the satisfaction of running a business and creating employment but if you’re turning entrepreneur because you think it’s a joy ride, you’re going down the wrong lane.
To be on Page 3
Entrepreneurship is the ‘in’ thing right now and the mainstream media is hungry for entrepreneur stories. “If you are the kind who loves the tiny PR-driven media mentions, you will not be able to handle the stigma of failure that happens to 95% of the start-ups,” says Anand. There are many instances where people try to create a buzz about their product by getting written about in multiple publications. But entrepreneurs, who are really working to solve an existing problem, let the product or service do the talking. “Failure, loss, and humbling experiences will teach you that entrepreneurship is not about possessing money, or fame, or a swanky office or appearing on CNBC,” says Pranay Srinivasan, who has spent close to a decade in the retail industry and is now the founder of Sourceasy.
People turn entrepreneurs for a reason which is much deeper and not just for outer glitz or glamour.
To do something cool
There always comes a point of stagnation in a person’s professional life and this desire to break free is intense. And the next thing you know, the startup bug has bitten you. Here is where you need to contemplate. What you actually need is something you really enjoy doing. “Anyone can aspire to become an entrepreneur but not everyone has the skills and stomach to do it. A smart person should know this and then work on getting the entrepreneurial skills and create an entrepreneurial mindset/attitude before plunging in,” says Rajesh Sawhney, founder at the GSF Accelerator.
Other reasons like ‘earning a quick buck’ or peer pressure are just as bad to plunge into the world of entrepreneurship. What one really needs is to work on something that excites them. “Everybody should aspire to do what they are good at! Entrepreneurs are good at not only identifying a problem, but being able to put a whole structure behind solving that problem,” says Anand.
Entrereneurship is about perseverance and dedicating yourself completely to what you believe in. And at the end of the day, as Pranay puts it, “It is about leaving behind a legacy.”